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We build dams for many purpose such as irrigation, electricity generation, flood control etc. Dams control the flow of water that is later used as source of power. Similarly, we need to put a lock(Bandha) to control  flow of our inner energy and use that power for physical and spiritual upliftment.  The word Bandha means “to bind, to tie together, to lock”.
How do Bandhas Work?
Yogic bandhas play an important role to uplift our Prana. Prana is a subtle form of energy. Through practicing Asana, Pranayma and Bandhas, Prana is brought into and stored in the body, increasing vitality. Kundalini Yoga believes that bandhas direct the flow of prana in the body, and convert it into spiritual energy. Yogic texts say that by using the bandhas, the agni (fire of life) can be direct the exact place where the rubbish has settled and is blocking the flow of energy in the body.
Place, Process and Effects of Bandhas   
Four bandhas are mentioned in the old texts Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Gheranda Samhita. Here are places, process and its effects of four Bandhas
1.Mula Bandha | Root Lock
Place: the pelvic floor muscles
Process: lift or contract the muscles of perineum/cervix and hold. Hold the contraction for few seconds or minute, then release
Effects:
  • Mula Bandha increases flexibility and stimulates heat and increasing vitality  
  • Helps prevent injury during yoga practice  
  • It ignites the flame of kundalini or cosmic energy 

“Even an old person becomes young by constantly practicing Mula Bandha”- Hatha Yoga Pradipika

2.Uddiyana Bandha | Abdominal Lock
Place: the abdominals up to the diaphragm
Process: Exhale, contract the lower abdomen and pulling it inward and upward, toward the spine. Inhale, and release the lock
Effects:
  • improving digestion and elimination  
  • toning the abdominal organs   
  • Strengthens the abdominal muscles and diaphragm   
  • improve the quality of breath   
  • active blood circulation in the abdomen and blood flow to the brain   
Cautions : Avoid it if any have ulcer, Hernia, High BP, Heart Disease, Menstruation and pregnancy  

“This Uddiyana Bandha is like a lion for the elephant of death”-Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Watch+Learn+Practice : How to do Uddiyana Bandha 
3.Jalandhara Bandha | Chin Lock 
Place: the throat
Process: make spine and neck straight, and then chin is lowered toward throat
Effects:    
  •  useful for alleviating diseases of the throat  
  • Improve the prana in the thoracic region  
  • Preventing prana from escaping the upper body   
  • Helps to collect nervous impulses in the cervical plexus, when bandha is released the force of these impulses helps to activate higher centers of consciousness     

“Engaging Jalandhara Bandha destroys old age and death”- Hatha Yoga Pradipika

4.Maha Bandha | Tri Bandha| The Great Lock
Maha Bandha combines all three main Bandhas or locks – Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha    
Place: perineum/cervix, abdominal and throat
Process: exhale fully and simultaneously perfrom Mula bandha, Uddiyana Bandha and then Jalandhara Bandha in that order. Retain the breath outside, then release all locks
Effects:
  • Maha Bandha gives the combines benefits of all three bandhas- Mula, Uddiyana and Jalandhara Bandha     
  • It activates the three chakras– Muladhara, Manipura and Vishuddhi Chakra    
  • Creates balance between all three main Prana (vital energy) – Apana, Samana and Uddana Prana    
  • Balances all three main Nadis- Ida, Pingala and Susmna nadi    

“Maha Bandha is the most skillful means for keeping at bay the snares of death”- Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Watch+Learn+Practice: Maha Bandhas
Namaste
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. . . . Continued
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